Great Lakes Paddocks
Great Lakes Paddocks is a 300-acre property in Wootton growing pasture-fed Angus beef and producing delicious wines.
Sample some Great Lakes Wines and pasture-fed Angus beef then relax to live music with a delicious local produce grazing plate with a glass of your favourite wine.
What is the story behind your business name?
Great Lakes Paddocks has evolved from Great Lakes Winery which was established in 1989. As our business diversified we wanted a name to better reflect the variety of products our business offered. So not only are the grapes grown in the paddocks, but so is the beef and other produce such as finger limes plus our "Back Paddock" events are now also encompassed in the name.
Who is involved in your farm business?
Robyn & Steve own and operate the business and our two daughters, who are the reason we are here, help out when they can! We left our lives in Sydney to pursue a more family friendly lifestyle here in Wootton after spending much time exploring the area and finding a little run down winery that we saw potential in. We both had corporate roles that involved a lot of travelling and when we worked out that somebody else was bringing up our children we made the decision to change our lives and pursue what we believe to be a healthier lifestyle choice for family life.
How did you get started in the Wine Business?
Wine has been a shared passion of Robyn & Steves since they first met. Robyn is South Australian so wine is in her blood and an early career choice found Steve working for one of Australia's biggest wine companies. Buying the business back in 2000 was a big decision and has taken us on a journey of what life is really all about...full of surprises, continuous learning, wins and failures and everything in between.
Cattle seemed the logical way to go given we had 120 acres with only 10 acres of vineyards. Given Steve's love of grass growing he developed very early the discipline and know-how of pasture management and grazing techniques that have resulted in damn fine eating Angus beef cattle.
The quality of the soil on our property never ceases to amaze us and our intention is not to over-farm this land.
What do you produce?
Over 20 years of course our business has evolved and if there is one thing about agriculture you need to be nimble and willing to diversify which we definitely have done. Our wine is made with fruit both from our property but we also source fruit from other regions and also use others that have better skills than us in the production side ensuring our long term loyal customer base are happy. Our pasture-raised Angus Beef is grown on solely on our property which is now 200 acres. Once customers have our beef we find they keep coming back - you just can't beat farm fresh produce!
Other produce from our farm includes finger limes and olives, plus in the Tasting Room we support and sell other small producers offering products such as cheeses, olive oils, honey, conserves etc.
Our Music Days in the Back Paddock and events such as weddings is another way we share our farm life while supporting our business.
What are your core farming beliefs?
Working with the land and appreciating what it gives us while responding to its needs so it is a not just a take relationship - we also give back. The same goes for the animals - we are not simply a financial based business to make money at all costs - in fact that is a philosophy we find distasteful. Like many modern farmers we aim to leave the land in a better condition than what we received it in - it is just logical really!
What does it mean to you to be part of the Great Lakes Food Trail?
Having been here for 20 years The Great Lakes Food Trail has been gratifying for us to see a wonderful diverse selection of producers from all walks of life sharing their passion for food production while being sensitive to the needs of animals, land and environment. It provides hope for all of us that the future of farming will be in good hands.